I recently had an online conversation with a planner in the UK who was designing a "Dutch style" roundabout using Dutch geometry but with no special cycle facilities. To me, this sounds rather like making a cheese sandwich without the cheese. The reason not to include cycling facilities was that a short way beyond the roundabout, cyclists would have to join the road again. This is inevitable, of course, in the current situation because you can't do everything at once. However, it's not a reason why the right thing shouldn't be done at the junction which is being redeveloped.
My correspondent asked for examples. Between this and the next post, it should be possible to gain a reasonable idea of how Dutch roundabouts work, though obviously not as good an impression as would be gained from coming here to take a look.
In practice, the difference for a cyclist between Dutch roundabouts and British roundabouts is not just the geometry. Specific cycling infrastructure is a part of roundabout design. It's really not the same at all to take the geometry of Dutch roundabouts without also including the cycle facilities which go with them.
Even where there are no cycle-paths on adjoining roads, there is still an advantage to having them around a roundabout. There is a big safety advantage as well as a potential improvement in convenience to well designed junctions, including around roundabouts.
I've not found a roundabout locally with no cycle facilities at all. However, this one in a village a few kilometres North of the city provides a good example of how to link a road without cycle-path to a roundabout with cycle-path, preserving safety on the arm of the roundabout which doesn't have a cycle-path.
Some may quibble at having to give way at the crossing of the other roads joining the roundabout itself. However, consider that if I didn't give way where I do in the video, I'd otherwise have done so to the same car on the roundabout itself. In practice, most usage of this junction by cyclists is on the main West-East cycle-path which we join very briefly on our way around the roundabout. Because the road to the South serves only a dead end road with one business and a farm on it, there is rarely anything to give way to. The only way to have to give way twice is to ride around the roundabout in order to make a video.
The industrial area just North of the roundabout does not have segregated cycle paths, but just cycle lanes on the road. In the Netherlands, this is quite unusual. There are 29000 km of cycle-path separated from the road, but just 5500 km of on-road cycle lane. However in a location like this, with a 30 km/h speed limit on a road which mainly serves adult cyclists, this is adequate provision.
What exists here now wasn't all built at once. Rather, isolated islands of infrastructure were built and eventually they came to be joined up to make the current network.
The best approach in Britain to be to insist on building examples of the best possible infrastructure rather than taking the approach that it's not worth doing something because it isn't already done elsewhere. It is inevitable that in the UK at the moment good examples will be isolated islands. The important thing is to make sure that those isolated islands are of good quality. Good things sell themselves. Once something has been shown to work well, as Dutch roundabout design including cycle paths certainly do, then it is easier to make a case for more of the same elsewhere.
Please also read the next post.
We offer Study Tours in the Netherlands in order to provide a service to campaigners, planners and other parties with an interest in how the Netherlands has achieved its extraordinary modal share and safety figures for cycling. Uniquely, we've experience of both the UK and the Netherlands and know how the two countries compare from a cyclists point of view. We offer a time-saving way of finding out what the important differences are, rather than having people making guesses from the other side of the North Sea. Thus far, no-one responsible for designing cycle provision in the UK has come on any of our tours.